Posted on 2020/02/05

Jet lag is one of the most common inconveniences associated with long journeys. Our ambassador Safia, Nomad Junkies co-founder and experienced traveller, shares her best tips to limit its effects and make the most of your trip.

You don't have to travel really far to experience jet lag. With a country as far and wide as Canada, if you fly to the West Coast from Montreal or Toronto, you'll be crossing a total of three time zones! Imagine travelling to Europe, Asia or even Oceania, with 16 hours difference if you're headed for Australia.

As a rule of thumb, the length of time people generally suffer from jet lag symptoms can be calculated as such: one day per time zone crossed. So, if you fly to Italy with a six-hour time difference, you should expect to feel the effects of jet lag for up to six days.

After so many years on the road, I'd like to say that I don't get affected by jet lag anymore, but who am I fooling! After any long trip, I still need to adjust my internal clock. Luckily, I've found ways to minimize the effects of jet lag. This way, I can kick-start my holidays from the moment I step off of the plane.

Here are my little tips and tricks to deal with jet lag when I travel.

Adjust your sleeping schedule a few days before departure

As you prepare for your trip, start going to bed each night either one hour earlier or one hour later than your usual sleeping time. This will depend on whether you're travelling eastbound or westbound. You'll want to start 2 to 3 days before you leave. By tricking your body a few days ahead of your flight, you might be able to mitigate the effect of jet lag and reduce the number of days by which you'll be affected.

Boost your immune system to feel strong and healthy

From the tray table to the recycled air on the plane to your runny nose neighbour, there are many ways to be exposed to viruses while flying. While no one wants to start their holiday sick, make sure to stock up on vitamins and supplements before you leave. If you feel the hint of a cold, my magic recipe is to load up on vitamin C, Echinacea, oregano oil, ginger tea with lemon and chicken soup. You'll be up and running in no time!

Make your flight as comfortable as possible to help you sleep on the plane

You don't need to burn your travel budget with business class tickets just to sleep comfortably on a plane. Here's all you need to catch some z's up in the air:

  • Wear comfortable clothes: I have a go-to uniform which I wear every time I go on a plane, and it consists of my pair of OTH Pants with my DAX Top and a nice scarf to make me feel cozy yet stylish.
  • Bring an eye mask: I've recently discovered the ALLAsleep eye mask that attaches to your seat to help you sleep seated. I also never leave home without a plane blanket.
  • Download a meditation app or a calming music playlist: bonus if you have noise-cancelling headphones, but even without it's the best way to envelop yourself in a zen bubble.

Avoid coffee, alcohol and fatty, salty or sweet food during your flight

The feeling of being on holiday often rhymes with drinking, especially when your airline offers complimentary alcoholic beverages. As tempting as it might be to have a celebratory cocktail, alcohol can make you feel dehydrated, hungover and tired. As for coffee, fatty food, salty snacks and sweets, they can have the same effect on your body. Opt for a well-balanced meal that will give you just the right amount of energy for your vacation. You wouldn't want to be wasting precious time feeling anything less than extraordinary, especially while on holiday.

Follow the schedule of your destination as soon as you arrive

Travelling is tiring, and you might feel tempted to rest when you land, but by all means, do everything in your power to follow the day as if it would be any typical day. Push through by doing some exercise, exploring your new environment or maybe even visiting some attractions. At this point, taking a midday nap will cancel all attempts to fight off jet lag, so power through until your regular bedtime.

If you've ever experienced symptoms of jet lag, you know that it's something that you want to avoid at all costs. Although these tricks might not be full-proof, it's worth a shot to try these techniques on your next long-haul flight across multiple time zones.

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